A weekend in Tipperary
Ireland's Ancient East
It's the sad fate of most of the landlocked counties making up the spine of Ireland to be seen as merely part of transit territory. The endless farming land, although pleasant, lacks the wow factor of the dramatic coastal scenery of the north and west That's not to say that these counties are not very worth visiting and Tipperary is an integral part of Ireland's Ancient East.
Great for a visit to break up the journey to Cork or Kerry and even better for a stopover, Tipperary is definitely deserving of your time.
Undoubtedly, the main attraction of Tipperary is the Rock of Cashel. A hilltop citadel that looks more like a fortress than the religious centre it transformed into. Equally impressive from the distance as up close
The town of Cashel is a strange mix of tourist services that has grown up around one of Ireland's most visited attractions. Hundreds of guesthouse and touristy restaurants and gift shops give the town a little bit of a seedy feel but at least there is a good nightlife with lots of choice. Tipperary is one of the cheaper counties for accommodation and there is a good selection of 4-star hotels scattered around.
Another religious gem is Holycross Abbey. A tour of this restored Cistercian Abbey is highly recommended and features the abbey's ornate collection of stained glass windows, variety of building styles and above all a fantastic story. To top it all off they have a 750 year old bell called Michael.
Cahir Castle, once the stronghold of the powerful Butler family, is one of Ireland's most impressive and well-preserved castles, The intimidating defensive features of this classic medieval castle are largely intact and it has a fantastic setting on a rocky island in the middle of the River Suir. The audio visual option is worth a go to learn more about the history.
The strangest place on this list is the Swiss Cottage in Cahir, a replica of a Swiss style cottage built in the 1800s for the mega rich Butlers again. The eye-catching exterior including extensive thatched roofs, gabled white walls and climbing vines are incredibly pretty. The interior, which can only be seen on a tour, is decorated with rare wallpapers and features an impressive spiral staircase. Unless you really like looking at pretty things this will probably not be near the top of a list of must-visit attractions but a nice addition to Cahir Castle if in the village nonetheless.